Mild Neurocognitive Disorder



Almost 2−10% of adults by the age of 65 and 5−25% of adults by the age of 85 are affected by the mild neurocognitive disorder. Mild neurocognitive disorder is most common among older adults, but it also occurs in younger people due to brain injury or other mental illnesses. Some treatments can sometimes resolve this disorder.

What is Mild Neurocognitive Disorder?

The mild neurocognitive disorder involves a lower level of cognitive decline in one or more areas like memory, attention, language, and many more. Individuals facing mild neurocognitive disorder can still live independently, but they face difficulty in some cognitive areas. The neurocognitive disorder is of two types mild neurocognitive disorder and major neurocognitive disorder, i.e., extreme deterioration in cognitive domains such as memory, reasoning, speech, changes in emotional behavior, and lack of ability to function. Several issues cause mild neurocognitive disorder, and it has several treatments that are sometimes effective for curing this disorder.

Symptoms of Mild Neurocognitive Disorder

Cognitive is referred to as the mental process that helps us to gain knowledge and recognize experiences. Examples of cognitive functions are memory, learning, and decision-making. Changes occur in the brain with increasing age, like the body. Individuals can notice that their forgetfulness is growing with age, or it may take much time to remember a word. The mild neurocognitive disorder may have several symptoms, such as −

  • Forgetting things more often.

  • Forgetting important events like appointments or social engagement

  • To lose the thread of conversation

  • Trouble in finding the way into the own familiar environment

  • Giving poor judgments

  • Excessively overwhelmed by taking decisions and planning steps to achieve a goal.

  • Loss of attention

  • Depression

  • Aggression and irritability

  • Anxiety

Causes of Mild neurocognitive disorder

All the causes of the mild neurocognitive disorder are not known till now. The causes of the mild and major neurocognitive disorders are the same, but the degree of the effect differs. Some of the possible causes of mild neurocognitive disorders are −

  • Alzheimer's disease − This is the most common cause of neurocognitive disorder in people over 65. This disease involves protein plaques and tangles on the brain.

  • Lewy body dementia − This protein deposit known as Lewy body grows in nerve cells in the brain and leads to problems like thinking, memory, and movement.

  • Vascular dementia − This is the damage to the vessels that supply blood to the brain.

  • Huntington's disease − This is a genetic disease involving nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord wasting away, leading to a decline in cognitive skills during the age of 30-40.

  • Metabolic issues − Thyroid problems, low blood sugar, and low level of sodium or calcium can lead to mild neurocognitive disorder.

  • Infections − Fevers and other immune processes caused by the body's attempt to fight infection can lead to mild neurocognitive disorder.

  • Traumatic brain injury − This can occur due to an accident experienced by the boxers and soldiers, leading them to temporary or permanent memory loss.

  • Medication − Side effects or certain reactions of some medicines can result in mild neurocognitive disorder.

  • Other than these, there are other causes like depression, anxiety, and stress; sleep disorders; and low level of vitamin B12.

Many of these causes of the mild cognitive disorder are treatable, but some are not.

Diagnosis of mild neurocognitive disorder

A physician, psychiatrist, and mental health professionals can diagnose the mild neurocognitive disorder. A doctor must know about the physical, psychological, and neurological conditions to diagnose this disorder. No single test can make a doctor understand to diagnose a mild neurocognitive disorder. Several tests can help to diagnose this disorder. Those are −

  • Brain scans − An MRI can help a doctor understand the brain's condition and which symptom is causing mild neurocognitive disorder.

  • Cognitive and neuropsychological tests − These tests can measure memory, reasoning, judgment, and attention.

  • Lab tests − Through blood tests, a doctor can understand what is affecting the brain, like the deficiency of vitamin B12 or the thyroid. Fluid from the spinal cord can also be taken for testing and examination if any infection or other diseases is causing this disorder.

  • Neurological evaluation − Evaluating memory, language skills, attention, problem−solving, and decision−making ability.

  • Psychological evaluation − This involves checking the behavioral or mental problems that, if any of these, make this disorder.

Treatment of Mild neurocognitive disorder

Until now, no medications have been approved to treat mild neurocognitive disorders. Some medications have been used to cure symptoms like Alzheimer's and psychological and physical symptoms. As a result, mild neurocognitive disorders are sometimes resolved, but those medications do not work for curing major neurocognitive disorders, those medications do not work. Sometimes doctors try out some non-medicinal processes like modifications of environment, Occupational therapy, modification of tasks, and application methods related to relaxation. Though mild neurocognitive disorders are sometimes curable, major neurocognitive disorders are not curable.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that mild neurocognitive disorder occurs mainly in older adults above the age of 65 due to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, side effects of medicine, psychological disorder, and health issues. Sometimes it takes place in 30−40−year−old young adults due to Huntington's disease and traumatic brain injury. Sometimes mild neurocognitive disorders caused due to psychological disorders or other health-related issues can be treated with some medicines, but when this disorder occurs due to the increasing age, it cannot be cured; doctors still try to cure it with some non−medicinal therapies. Mild neurocognitive disorders are sometimes thought of as temporary, but it is sometimes permanent as well. It involves memory loss, problems in decision making, taking poor judgment, and many other problems.


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